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  • Rosenbloom Owings Mills JCC
    7:30am - 6:00pm
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    7:30pm - 11:00pm
Shabbat Candle Lighting: 4:54pm
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Today's Building Hours
  • Rosenbloom Owings Mills JCC
    7:30am - 6:00pm
  • Weinberg Park Heights JCC
    7:30pm - 11:00pm
Shabbat Candle Lighting: 4:54pm

Let the Vocals Play

World-Renown Naturally 7 hits the Gordon with the Maccabeats January 15 

With over 3 million views on Facebook of their joint YouTube video “Shed a Little Light,” internationally-acclaimed A cappella and vocal play groups, The Maccabeats and Naturally 7, will perform their first ever live concerts together - Sunday afternoon, January 15, 2017, at 1:30pm and 5:30pm, at The Gordon Center for Performing Arts.

Using only their voices, these talented men will provide a spiritual, celebratory concert in tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr.

Every instrument sound Naturally 7 sings is created by the human voice including the rhythm of drums, guitars, horns, flutes.  They’ve toured and performed the world over with luminaries as diverse as Quincy Jones, Michael Buble’, and Ludacris. Their now famous Paris subway performance of the song “Feel It (In the Air Tonight)" has received over four and a half million hits on YouTube alone and became a top three chart success in France, Belgium and South Africa.

Naturally 7 member Rod Eldridge explains the ensemble came together in late 1999 in New York City. A group of friends began singing together in church and decided to form an A capella group.

With 1 ½ songs in their repertoire, Naturally 7 heard about the Harmony Sweepstakes A Cappella Festival.  They entered a local Harmony competition and lo and behold, they won! Shocked, the ensemble flew to San Francisco to compete in the Harmony Sweepstakes national competition, and they WON AGAIN!

According to Rod, “We were stunned! We didn’t realize how big the world of A Capella was.  We were exposed to so many styles.”

Following the competition, a record company by the name of Primarily A Capella contacted them and said “Let’s do a deal.”  According to Rod, “At the time, we were like a lot of other A Capella groups, but we wanted to differentiate ourselves.”

Riding the wave of this newfound success and still unable to decide if Naturally 7 were going to be an A cappella group or a traditional band, Roger Thomas, the group’s leader, had a novel idea: they could be both.

Roger remembered as a child, his brother Warren always wanted a drum set but their mother always told him no because it was just too noisy. So Warren learned to make true drum sounds, with different ways of making the kick, toms, snare, cymbals, and other drum sounds, to compensate for not having real drums to play. Roger approached Warren with the idea from their childhood, and asked if he could become the band’s drummer, so to speak, to accompany Naturally 7 on up-tempo songs.

The idea evolved, and the other band members found unique aspects of their own voices to determine which members would BE which instrument. After all, Roger thought, if the human voice truly was an instrument, it should not matter which instrument it needed to be. And for Naturally 7, it really didn’t matter; “VOCAL PLAY” was born. What is the difference between Vocal Play and A cappella? A cappella is defined as singing without instruments. Vocal Play is singing AS instruments, and BECOMING an instrument with the voice.

Thus the concept of “Vocal Play” – a multiplicity of voices creating and harmonizing utilizing the sounds of instruments – was born.

Today Naturally 7 are Roger Thomas (musical director, arranger, 1st Baritone, Rap), Warren Thomas (percussion, guitar, clarinet, 3rd tenor) Rod Eldridge (1st tenor, scratching, trumpet), Ricky Cort (4th Tenor, guitar), Dwight Stewart (2nd baritone, vocals, trumpet), Garfield Buckley (2nd Tenor, Harmonica) and “Kelz” Mitchell (Bass).

each guy had the talent to do a different instrument


“We started out with Warren as the drummer, then added bass, then guitar, then a lightbulb went off – each guy had the talent to do a different instrument,” says Rod.

With the exception of two member changes, the core 5 of Naturally 7 have remained together for the length of the band’s tenure. 

For Naturally 7, a huge turning point came in the fall of 2007. From quiet success all over Europe they were propelled onto the world stage, performing before millions of people.

As the special guest of internationally acclaimed singer Michael Bublé, Naturally 7 has been met with standing ovations nightly in Europe, the U.K., Canada, Australia and the U.S.

In May 2008 they made their national U.S. Television debut on Ellen and joined Bublé for a guest appearance on The Today Show. They opened for Jay Leno in Las Vegas and performed at his ‘Tonight Show’, were guests on Tavis Smiley, performed at NARM, helped celebrate Quincy Jones’ 75th Birthday in Montreux.

Naturally 7 is excited to perform with the Maccabeats January 15.

Maccabeats

The Maccabeats, formed in 2007 as Yeshiva University’s student vocal group that has emerged as both a Jewish music and A cappella phenomenon. With over 20 million views on YouTube, numerous TV and worldwide appearances from Alabama to New Zealand and everywhere in between, they connect with fans of all backgrounds and ages using nothing more than the unadulterated human voice, a clean-cut presentation, and a little Jewish humor. The Maccabeats sold out the Gordon Center for Chanukah in 2015.

“The Maccabeats are a great bunch of guys. We’re going to put on a great MLK show,” says Rod.

With their rich harmonies, an unbelievable ability to replicate instruments and a stage presence that can be felt in every seat of the house, Naturally 7, the first vocal play group ever, charm fans where ever they perform.